Moral Story For Kids - Misplaced Heroism

 Misplaced Heroism

Vincent's parents died when he was an infant. He was brought up by his grandfather, Richard. Richard was a hardworking farmer. Single-handed, he could turn his piece of land into a plate of gold. It yielded him a rich crop year after year. Richard maintained himself and his grandson reasonably well and could also save money. All the villagers loved Richard. That is why they loved Vincent also. That, unfortunately, did not prove good for him. As he grew up, he refused to learn or work. He whiled away all his time in the company of other village boys. Richard grew old. With age, his capacity to work declined. He could not till his entire land. He could not raise healthy crops as he used to. At the same time, he was unhappy on account of Vincent's conduct. Several times he advised the young man to learn to work. But the fellow turned a deaf ear. One year Richard took to bed, beset with pain in his joints. He could not go up to his fields. He also began spending whatever saving he had made. An elderly widow of the neighboring house prepared food for them. But Richard could not afford rich or delicious food. Vincent felt irritated. He rarely came home. Along with two or three of his friends, he began stealing. The gang often threatened the shopkeepers in the market and forced them to part with a share of their earnings. One night, while Vincent lay on the verandah of an inn, one burglar was attracted towards his bag. The fellow would have decamped with Vincent's belongings if a small street dog had not violently barked at him. Vincent woke up and, with the dog's help, not only chased the burglar away but snatched the burglar's purse from his waist fold. Vincent patted the dog and fed it. From that moment, the two became inseparable companions. By and by Vincent's dog grew up to be the most ferocious creature in the area, just as Vincent was the most dreaded man. With the dog by his side, Vincent grew bolder. Small traders who came from distant places to the market were his targets. In the darkness, along the bushy road, he confronted them and plundered their belongings.

Vincent was very proud that everyone feared him. Alas, his pride does not last. The landlord of the region used to get information about the menace that Vincent's dog had turned out to be. He himself was an expert hunter and he kept a ferocious giant dog. One day, he rode towards Vincent's village while his dog ran with the horse. The moment the landlord's dog saw Vincent's dog, it pounced on it and tore it to pieces. Vincent's dog died with a piercing howl. The villagers saw the incident from a safe distance. Instead of sympathizing with Vincent, they seemed to enjoy his loss. They greeted the landlord and some of them even said, "Thank you, sir!" Vincent saw darkness all around him. He suddenly felt that his dog was gone, he had been reduced to a zero. Since his friendship with his dog, his other friends, all the youngsters of the locality, had left him. He had nobody to console him. That evening, after a long time, he returned home. By then Richard was on the verge of death. Vigour came back to the old man for a moment at the sight of Vincent. "My child, I've heard everything. No muscle power, no dog, can ever be one's security. If you're proud of your physical strength, someday you shall be humbled by a stronger person. If you're proud of your cleverness, someday you shall be snubbed by a cleverer man," said the dying Richard. "What then is your advice to me, grandfather?" asked Vincent, sobbing. "My child, be humble. If you've strength, use it for serving someone in need." These were almost his last words. When he died, the villagers did everything to perform his last rites. His immediate neighbor Sam, invited Vincent to his house and fed him. The next day, in the evening Vincent overheard Sam's wife telling Sam, "You shouldn't go to the fields today. You have a fever." "I've to go. Last night some thieves cut away the ripe crop from the fields near our field. Who knows, tonight it may not be from our field?" said Sam. From the verandah, Vincent said loudly, "Uncle, please allow me to guard the crop in your field tonight. I'm strong enough to offer any resistance to any plunderer." Sam was unwilling to leave the job to Vincent. But Vincent insisted on taking it up. A stick in his hand, he went across the field. At midnight, the villagers heard some shrieks and shouts from the fields. Some of them went out to see what the matter was. On seeing them, the thieves fled. In fact, the thieves had come as a gang to plunder the lands of several villagers. Vincent single handeldy had checked them, inflicting injuries on so many of them. In the process, he himself had been wounded. The villagers brought him back to Sam's house. He was nursed by his family and recovered soon. By now, he had become the hero of the village. In due course of time, he married Sam's daughter and lived an ideal life. "Vincent was always a hero," the villagers said. "But his heroism was temporarily misplaced!" 

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